Pro-life students at the College of William & Mary in Virginia were victims of vandalism Monday, the latest in an upward trend of hostility toward pro-life advocates.
On Sunday evening, students with Advocates for Life set up a display on campus marking the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The display included 2,538 popsicle sticks and signs explaining how many babies have been aborted in America under Roe, according to the WY Daily.
One sign read “Love them both” and another read “A woman has rights over her body from the moment she exists.”
Just four hours later, club president Katherine Beck said they discovered that their display had been vandalized. According to the report, the popsicle sticks were torn out of the ground and the signs were ripped up and thrown away.
“It’s upsetting, because virtually no one saw the 3,000 popsicle sticks and signs that took a lot of work,” Beck said. “It’s unfortunate that people who disagreed and are also very passionate about their views felt they could destroy our free speech.”
Local police are investigating, the report states.
College spokeswoman Suzanne Seurattan said they were disappointed to hear about the vandalism and offered support to the club.
Beck said they plan to set up a new display.
Pro-life advocates increasingly have become targets of censorship, vandalism, threats and harassment.
In December, a 15-year-old girl was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by an abortion activist outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Roanoke, Virginia. The assault was captured on video.
In two separate incidents last year, men also allegedly threatened to kill pro-life advocates outside abortion facilities in California and Florida. Last February, violent threats against a California pro-life leader prompted him to cancel a pro-life rally, LifeNews reported.
In the fall, vandals also destroyed pro-life student displays at Northern Kentucky University and St. Louis University. Campus Reform reported two other instances of vandalism in one week: one at the University of Florida and another at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
In October, a professor at San Jose University also allegedly threatened to “ beat the s— out of” pro-life students who were protesting on the California campus. A university spokeswoman said they are investigating.
Students for Life documented at least 40 incidents of vandalism alone in the past five years against its pro-life students groups. An interactive map displays the places where its clubs have been victims of vandalism.
“Other incidences of violence against our group include: Administrators destroying chalkings at Kutztown University, vandals throwing paint on a display at Portland State University, and a display of graduation cords (to highlight ‘missing students’ who were killed by abortion) at University of Miami,” according to Students for Life.